Time is running out for individuals to top up any gaps in their National Insurance Contributions (NICs) records.
If you, or any family members, intend to maximise your future State Pension benefits you should check your national insurance record, before 5 April 2023. (now extended to 5 April 2024.)
Currently, voluntary contributions can be made to plug gaps back to April 2006, but this will be curtailed from April.
In general, to qualify for the maximum ‘new state pension’ (received by those retiring on or after 6 April 2016) a person must have 35 qualifying years of NI contributions.
Contributions must have been made for at least 10 years for any state pension to be received.
For those whose NI record started before 6 April 2016, different rules may apply; the number of required years of NI contributions/credits to obtain the full state pension may be higher.
Normally, it is only possible to make voluntary contributions for the past six tax years. Currently there is an extension in place. Individuals can fill gaps in their NIC history from 6 April 2006 to the present date by making voluntary contributions.
However, from 6 April 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will revert to the normal six years. This means that in the 2023/24 tax year, it will be possible to make contributions going back to the 2017/18 tax year only.
Individuals should therefore take the opportunity to check their NI record to identify any shortfalls in their NI history.
Action to take
Go online to check your National Insurance contributions record. You can do this via your Government Gateway account. You will need to set one up if you have not already obtained one.
Review your contribution history for gaps, and obtain a State Pension forecast.
Contact HMRC if any errors are identified.
Confirm if you are eligible to pay voluntary contributions in respect of any gaps.
Establish how much voluntary contributions will cost and consider making up any shortfall, particularly for the period April 2006 to April 2017, before this opportunity is lost on 6 April 2023.
NI records and State Pension forecasts can also be viewed online, via your personal tax account.